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Kristian Berg Harpviken is a Research Professor at the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO). He is a long-time student of Afghanistan and the surrounding region, a frequent media commentator, and lectures regularly to both scholarly and popular audiences. He is author of Social Networks and Migration in Wartime Afghanistan (Palgrave MacMillan, 2009), and (with Shahrbanou Tadjbakhsh), A Rock Between Hard Places: Afghanistan as an Arena of Regional Insecurity (Hurst, 2016).

Kaja Borchgrevink is a Senior Researcher at PRIO and she takes an interest in religion and development, the politics of aid, and everyday religion among Muslims in Norway – often with a focus on gender and transnational perspectives. Borchgrevink has a background from Development Studies and practical development work in South Asia, and she has studied religious education in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and the transnational connections between religious seminaries (madrasas) in the two countries. Earlier research also includes studies of the relationship between civil society and peace building in Afghanistan with a focus on religious groups and networks.

Ilaria Carrozza is a Senior Researcher at the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO), where she works on China’s foreign policy; artificial intelligence as a frontier of US-China competition; the ethics of algorithms; dual-use technology; the Digital Silk Road; and the security assistance provided to countries in Africa, the Middle East and Southeast Asia. Prior to joining PRIO, she was the editor of Millennium: Journal of International Studies, Vol. 45, and she worked as a consultant at the UNESCAP in Bangkok. She has a PhD in International Relations from the London School of Economics and Political Science and a MA in Chinese Studies from the School of Oriental and African Studies.

Norunn Grande is currently the director at Nansen Center for Peace and Dialogue (NCPD), based in Lillehammer, Norway.  She develops and provides training courses in conflict transformation and dialogue facilitation, in Norway and internationally, also in Afghanistan, in close cooperation with Norwegian Afghanistan Committee (NAC).

Shah Gul Rezaie a human and women rights activist who was a member of the Wolesi Jirga, lower house of the Afghanistan National Legislature. In the parliamentary elections in 2005 and 2010, She was elected to represent Ghazni Province. During her presence in the parliament, she served as member and as deputy head of the Commission on Women’s Affairs, Civil Society and Human Rights, member and for a year as chairwoman of the Central Audit and Law Enforcement Commission, and in recent years until August 15, 2021, the fall of the government as a member of the International Relations Commission in the House of Representatives of the National Assembly of Afghanistan.

Cecilie Hellestveit is a Norwegian lawyer, international law expert, conflict researcher and foreign policy commentator. She is educated as a lawyer and social scientist with language and area studies in Arabic and Russian, and has a doctorate in international humanitarian law on the rules for combat in civil war.

Anniken Huitfeldt is the Norwegian Minister of foreign Affairs, and she has previously served as Minister of Children and Equality from 2008 to 2009, Minister of Culture from 2009 to 2012 and Minister of Labour and Social Inclusion from 2012 to 2013. Huitfeldt has a bachelor degree in political science and history from the University of Oslo, basic courses in geography from London School of Economics and a master degree in History from the University of Oslo.

Nora Ingdal is the international programmes director in Save the Children based in Norway. She has many years’ experience from the humanitarian sector, both as a researcher, a management consultant and a practitioner having worked for Norwegian People’s Aid, Norad, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and various Embassies. Relevant for our talk today was her recent visit to Afghanistan where she spent time with Save the Children’s female staff and local partners as well as engaging with decision-makers in Kabul.

Nazifa Jalali is from Zabul, Afghanistan, living in Harstad, Norway. She has worked in 28 provinces of Afghanistan with national and international NGOs. She has traveled to several countries and participated in many political talks with the Taliban as the Afghan women’s representative. One of those talks was the Oslo talk. WILFP – Afghanistan has made a documentary about Nazifa’s Activities in Afghanistan.

Masood Karokhail is the Director and co-founder of The Liaison Office (TLO) established 2003 in Kabul, Afghanistan. Under his leadership, TLO has grown into one of Afghanistan’s premier research, peace-building and livelihood NGOs. Karokhail is strongly committed to engaging customary and state institutions to promote good governance, access to justice, livelihood improvements and civil society across Afghanistan. Prior to co-founding TLO, Karokhail worked with the Swiss Peace Foundation (swisspeace) to develop the Afghan Civil Society Forum and as Afghanistan Country Manager for Unilever during the Taliban regime.

Nagieb Khaja is an award-winning Danish filmmaker and journalist known for his coverage of radical Islamist environments and the wars in Afghanistan and Syria. He has directed documentary and current-affairs films amongst others for Vice News (Rise of the British Jihadists, Guardian Doc (European Gangster Jihadi), BBC Panorama (Inside the Taliban), BBC Storyville (My Afghanistan) and Al Jazeera English (Syria´s White Helmets, , This is Taliban Country, On The Frontlines with The Taliban, Western Jihadis in Syria, Under Russia´s Fist).

Liv Kjølseth is a Political Scientist, with a postgraduate degree from the University of Oslo, with a specialisation in International Relations. For the last decade she has held the position of Secretary General of the Norwegian Afghanistan Committee (NAC). Prior to joining NAC, she was Information and Advocacy Adviser for the Norwegian Council for the Rights of the Kurdish People. She has previously worked for the Norwegian Directorate for Immigration (UDI).

Frode Kristoffersen is a Norwegian officer. He was appointed brigadier and head of the department for education, planning and operations in the Norwegian Intelligence Service in 2020. He has previously been the head of the Swedish Armed Forces’ special command. In 2013, Kristoffersen was awarded the St. Olavs medal with oak branch “for outstandingly displaying personal bravery and leadership during combat in international operations in Afghanistan in 2007”.

Anne Likuski is a Senior Research Fellow at the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment (FFI). She specialises in the study of Islamist militancy, notably in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Dr. Likuski speaks Arabic, Russian and some Persian, and has conducted extensive fieldwork in Afghanistan and Pakistan since 2008. She is the author of Al-Qaida in Afghanistan and Al-Qaida’s quest for weapons of mass destruction: The history behind the hype. She has published in international journals and has written several book chapters, blog posts and op-eds, and she is frequently used as an expert commentator on terrorism in the Norwegian and international media.

Terje Magnussønn Watterdal is an economist, and an education and disability rights activist. He is currently based in Kabul as the Country Director for the Norwegian Afghanistan Committee (NAC). He has previously worked as education advisor for governments in the Middle East and Southeast Asia, and senior expert for different UN agencies in Afghanistan and elsewhere in Asia. He holds postgraduate degrees from University of Mannheim, Germany and University of St. Gallen, Switzerland.

Karim Merchant is currently a freelance consultant on policy, programme and project development and management in the fields of rural development, humanitarian assistance, conflict-sensitive development and peacebuilding. Over the last 23 years, Karim has worked in Afghanistan with local civil society organisations, INGOS, UN Agencies, donors and the several previous Afghan governments. He lectures on Fragile and Conflict Affected States and Peacebuilding and continues to support policy and programme design initiatives for Afghanistan.

Horia Mosadiq is Afghan human rights defender and journalist with around 26 years of work experience in Afghanistan and South Asia region, in the fields of human rights, peace, justice and reconciliation, transitional justice, gender, security and violent extremism. She is a well-known and well-respected Women Human Rights Defender in Afghanistan and region. Horia is the founder of several organizations in the past 20 years including Conflict Analysis Network (CAN) a research, advocacy and capacity building think thank focusing on the issues of violent extremism, radicalization and its impact on human rights and Safety and Risk Mitigation Organization (SRMO) which focuses on protection of Human Rights Defenders.


Åsne Seierstad is a Norwegian freelance journalist and writer. As a reporter, she is known for her work in war zones such as Afghanistan, Iraq and most recently Chechnya. The Bookseller of Kabul, her bestselling book, is an account of the time she spent living with an Afghan family in Kabul after the fall of the Taliban in 2001. Her other books include One Hundred And One Days: A Baghdad Journal which describes the three months she spent in Iraq in the build-up to the U.S.-led invasion in 2003; Angel of Grozny: Inside Chechnya, an account of the time she spent in Chechnya after the war; and One of Us: The Story of Anders Breivik and the Massacre in Norway (2015).

Roxanna Shapour is an analyst at the Afghanistan Analysts Network with extensive experience working in Afghanistan for the BBC, UN agencies and non-governmental organisations. Over the years, she has focused on Afghanistan’s political and economic landscape, particularly public finance management and economic policy. An interest she developed while working as a senior strategic communications advisor at the Ministry of Finance, where she supported the development of the 2016 Afghanistan National Peace and Development Framework and the 2017 National Anti-Corruption Strategy and led the communications portfolio, including the 2016 Brussels Conference on Afghanistan. Roxanna is a native of Iran and is fluent in Persian (Farsi/Dari).

Timor Sharan is the author of Inside Afghanistan: Political Networks, Informal Order, and State Disruption. He is the Founder and Executive Director of the Afghanistan Policy Lab and a Fellow at the London School of Economics; IDEAS foreign policy think tank. He was formerly the International Crisis Group’s Senior Analyst for Afghanistan and worked as a senior public servant for the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. He holds a PhD from the University of Exeter and an MPhil from the University of Cambridge.

Hasina Shirzad is a journalist living in Lillehammer, Norway. She is a student at the Nansen Academy and finalizing her master’s degree at Oslo Met. She has worked with Afghanistan`s electoral committee, with UNESCO in Kabul, the Afghan journalism team and for Kurshid-TV. After she was injured by a car bomb, she left Afghanistan for Norway in 2015. In Norway she has worked with Dagbladet, NOAS and Journalism Media International Centre, Oslo Met. and Nansen Center for Peace and Dialogue (NCPD).

Arne Strand has a PhD in Post-war Recovery Studies through which he studied coordination of humanitarian assistance in complex emergencies. His research focuses on aid coordination, forced migration and reintegration, peace building and security sector reform and humanitarian and development assistance.

Strand has been team leader of several evaluations and research programmes in and on Afghanistan. He has extensive management experience from NGOs and research institutes, and has also been involved in developing management and professional capacities of Afghan NGOs and peacebuilding organisations.

Hayauddin Tamkin is a Peacebuilding and Public Relations professional. He holds a master’s degree in public Relations from the Omduram Islamic University in Khartoum, Sudan and a bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication from the International University of Africa in Khartoum, Sudan. He started his career as Publication Manager and Chief Editor of Peacebuilding Magazine, Peacebuilding Journal and other magazines promoting peace and co-existence. He has also worked as Peacebuilding master trainer, capacity development manager and supervised a religious leaders project with an Afghan national NGO – Sanayee Development Organization (SDO) and worked for the Norwegian Church Aid (NCA) in the position of Peacebuilding Program Officer as well as Social Development Program Coordinator in Afghanistan.

Andrew Watkins is a senior expert on Afghanistan for the U.S. Institute of Peace and has worked in and on Afghanistan in a number of roles. He was previously the senior analyst on Afghanistan for the International Crisis Group, where he researched and published reports and commentary on the country’s conflict and politics. He was also an analyst of insurgent groups for the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan and studied the Taliban as an independent researcher. As an advisor to humanitarian organizations based across the country, he traveled widely and conducted extensive field research. He also served as a liaison with local security forces for several years.

Torunn Wimpelmann is a Senior Researcher at Chr. Michelsen Institute (CMI) where she is currently the Co-director of the research project New Afghan Men, which explores the changing notions of marriage and masculinity in Afghanistan. She is the author of, The Pitfalls of Protection: Gender, Violence and Power in Afghanistan (University of California Press, 2017).

Laila Bokhari is a Norwegian political scientist, researcher, and expert in the field of terrorism, as well as a diplomat and politician. Prior to being a Kistefos fellow at Harvard Kennedy School of Government, Bokhari served as State Secretary at the Office of the Norwegian Foreign Minister, and as the State Secretary at the Office of the Norwegian Prime Minister. She has worked as a researcher at the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (Nupi) and the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment (FFI). She has also been an associate fellow at King’s College London, worked for the OSCE in Warsaw, the Norwegian Refugee Council in Geneva, the Norwegian Afghanistan Committee, the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Pakistan, and as part of the Temporary International Presence in Hebron (TIPH).